[10 TIPS] To Tame Facebook

Category: Facebook

Many people give up on Facebook because they are overwhelmed by its firehose of information. Constant torrents of status updates, check-ins, memes, and of course those “sponsored stories” can easily become a huge waste of time. Facebook burnout ensues, and accounts languish for years without an update. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips to filter and manage your Facebook experience…

Ten Tools to Manage Your Facebook Feed

Here are ten ways to use tools built into Facebook to control what you see, who can send it to you and, to some extent, how often you see certain types of content. It’s dismaying that you have to actively “manage” all of this, but that’s a fact of life.

(1) - Two control options appear on a dropdown menu when you hover over “News Feed” on your Home page’s left sidebar. The “Default” way of displaying content on your News Feed is “Top Stories” -- essentially, the stories that Facebook wants you to see first. The alternative is “Most Recent,” which you must check off repeatedly because Facebook keeps switching you back to “Top Stories.”

(2) -Below “Top Stories vs. Most Recent” you’ll see the second News Feed control option concerning Notifications, those rectangular balloons that pop up in the lower-left corner of your screen and in the “Notifications” tab at the top-right of every Facebook page. “Turn off Notifications” is the default setting, mercifully; enable Notifications only if you really, really can’t afford to miss anything your friend or followed Page does.

Tips for Taming Facebook

(3) -Note that the Notifications toggles on this News Feed dropdown menu affect all notifications, not just those generated by a specific friend or Page. On a human friend’s Home page, hover over the “Friends” button to reveal the “Get Notifications” option on a dropdown menu. Check or uncheck it to toggle notifications from that friend on and off. On a Page, the “Liked” button reveals the options to get all or none of the notifications generated by the Page.

(4) -You might be frustrated because you're not seeing Facebook posts from people you really care about. When you make someone a friend on Facebook, you automatically "follow" them as well. But their posts still might be buried deep in your feed, or not show up at all. Here's how to fix that: Click the “Following” button on their page, and a dropdown menu will show you two control options. Select “See First” instead of “Default” and posts from that person will appear at (or at least near) the top of your feed.

(5) -In similar fashion, Facebook Pages for businesses and other non-human entities can be ignored or “liked.” If you click the “Like” button on a Page, a dropdown menu will show you the “See First” option. Select it, and posts from that Page will appear earlier in your News Feed than unprioritized Page posts.

More Options to Control What You See

Back in 2013, I wrote an article on How to Fix Facebook Annoyances with a nifty extension called SocialFixer. Sadly, most of the features of that tool are now broken, as a result of Facebook code changes. It can still hide that huge "cover photo" that appears at the top your friends' pages, and tweak the font size for posts and comments. But most of the popular features don't work. The author says he is working on a major update, so if you're interested in his progress, see the Social Fixer page on Facebook.

(6) -If you write a post, a comment, or, a reply, you may or may not want to receive notification whenever someone replies to what you wrote. To set notifications on for a specific post, click on the down-arrow in its upper-right corner and “turn on notifications for this post” only.

(7) -Individual posts can be hidden from your view without affecting your Facebook relationships. You don’t have to block your best friend just because he posted one offensive message. Just look for the “down arrow head” at the upper-right corner of any post; it is deliberately greyed out and hard to see, but moving the cursor over that area of a post will reveal the arrow head. Click on the down-arrow to select “hide post,” and you’ll lose that post without losing a friend.

(8) -Other options on the same dropdown menu include “unfollow, but remain friends,” so you see nothing from a friend in your News Feed but can still enjoy the privileges of “friendship.”

(9) -“Save Post” is a fairly recent and very valuable feature on Facebook. It’s simply bookmarking a given post, just as you would save a bookmark to one of my articles. Click the down-arrow on the post’s upper-right corner and select “Save post” or “Save link.” The place to look for posts you have saved is in your Home page’s left sidebar, appropriately labeled, “Saved.”

(10) -You can search through all of your past posts using the Activity Log Search function. Start with the down-arrow icon in the upper-right corner of any Facebook screen. Click it to reveal a dropdown menu with many options; “Activity Log” is about halfway down the list. Click that label to open the Activity Log page. See the “Activity search” box in the upper-right part of the page? Don’t get your hopes up; Facebook’s search algorithm is not as good as Google’s, to put it politely.

These are only the major options available to control content in your News Feed. I could write a book about all of the options on the hidden dropdown menus mentioned throughout this article. Take some time to explore them and see how they can enrich your Facebook experience.

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This article was posted by on 12 May 2016

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Most recent comments on "[10 TIPS] To Tame Facebook"

Posted by:

John O
12 May 2016

I solved this problem by going through the options and undoing everything I could find and dumping the whole damn thing. What a waste of time . I don't really care what anybody had for lunch two weeks ago or any other inane comments. For a while I got some facebook stuff - unsolicited but I blocked the domain and senders. That seems to have worked too.

It is just a scam to get your info and patterns to sell to advertisers. Who needs it.

Posted by:

12 May 2016

John O, no one forces you to use Facebook. You are correct in that they make their money on advertising. And especially since they know a lot about you, they can target ads which makes the advertisers really happy. But I use Facebook to keep in touch with a lot of friends from college, high school, work, family. I find it very convenient. And I just ignore all the ads. I don't think I have ever clicked on one of them. Sorry Facebook.

Posted by:

12 May 2016

There's a simple way to avoid all the Facebook problems that come up - just don't join.

Posted by:

12 May 2016

To comment on both the above posts. As part of an organization whose members and staff are scattered almost literally over the globe, Facebook provides us with a common meeting place and communications hub. Admittedly we use a number of "Secret Groups" to help keep things organized, but the site/service does provide a helpful message board for us.

Yes we have to live with ads and near-useless posts at times, but only on our personal pages, and as Bob points out, we have options to limit all the junk and spam. More often than not our real business "business" is done on the secret group pages where the spam and junk is a lot less and posts from group members is (usually) to the point.

Facebook can be a useful tool, so don't dismiss it out of hand simply because of an annoying aspect of it. (We are also heavy users of Google Drive.) Like any tool it depends on how you use it.

Posted by:

12 May 2016

A useful browser extension is F.B. Purity, from fbpurity.com. As the website says, it "lets you hide the Suggested Posts / Related Posts / Sponsored Posts / Sponsored Stories / Upcoming Events / Games your Friends are playing / Games You May Like / Similar To / Related Articles / More Like / More From / Trending Topics etc." And much, much more. There are many filtering options so you can set up Facebook to your liking. Best of all, I don't have to see everything all my friends "like." Unfortunately, it's not available for phones.

Posted by:

12 May 2016

Mr. Robert is right on. The FB platform is no different from a telephone. Just because you get pranks calls in the middle of the night once in a while, or that anyone can access your address, age and other personal information from the telephone company that you subscribe to does not mean that you have to stop using the telephone altogether. Ditto for email servers regarding spams and scams, unless you want to stop using email altogether.

Posted by:

12 May 2016

Re: No. 2, my dropdown has nothing except the option of most recent or top stories, nothing about notifications. Not a big deal as I know how to fix notifications but I'm wondering where this is?
2) -Below “Top Stories vs. Most Recent” you’ll see the second News Feed control option concerning Notifications, those rectangular balloons that pop up in the lower-left corner of your screen and in the “Notifications” tab at the top-right of every Facebook page. “Turn off Notifications” is the default setting, mercifully; enable Notifications only if you really, really can’t afford to miss anything your friend or followed Page does.

Posted by:

Renaud Olgiati
12 May 2016

I am surprised you do not mention the FB Purity add-on for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera and Maxthon.
This let you configure what to display and whet to hide/filter with a very fine granularity.

Posted by:

Jay R
12 May 2016

If FB were not big amongst my kids, I wouldn't have any need for this great information. While it(FB) is what it is, what it is is not what it should be, but Bob's suggestions will push it in that direction. I am so grateful that my kids don't post all the minutiae that is going on in their lives. If they did, I would be tempted to get a DNA analysis.

Posted by:

13 May 2016

+1 for "FB Purity" browser extension. Great article Bob, thanks. I think I was doing many of those suggestions already.

On mobile devices I use both the app and the mobile site in conjunction so I can see a range of news feed articles (as well as use the FB messenger on the mob site rather than giving FB my address book with the FB Msgr app)

Posted by:

Richard E Traylor
13 May 2016

Here is a program I found to be very useful when using Facebook. http://www.fbpurity.com/

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